Because esophageal cancer is moderately rare and new treatment approaches are being developed every day, a newly diagnosed patient has a difficult decision to make as to where to go for treatment. Successful treatment of rare cancers, such as esophageal cancer, is very dependent upon the experience of the medical staff and aggressive, sometimes experimental, approaches to therapy. These factors are most often found in large, specialized oncology hospitals and teaching hospitals dedicated to research, innovation, and training.
Seek Out a Specialist
Patients who do not live close to such facilities are still urged to investigate such locations to seek the latest and greatest variety of options for treatment. Most research hospitals have short-term living arrangements and other accommodations for patients who are coming from out of the area. There may even be special funds to help pay for the cost of travel, especially if the hospital is a state supported facility and the patient is a state resident.
Get a Second Opinion
Esophageal cancer patients who are told that their cancer is too advanced for treatment and are offered only palliative medical care are urged to get a second opinion from other oncologists and facilities. There are many members in ECAA and participating in the ACOR-EC-G online group who have survived for multiple years after treatment for very advanced esophageal cancer.
The rate of survival is constantly improving as medical specialists learn more and more about this relatively rare form of cancer and new therapies are developed. Even when total destruction of the tumor by surgery or other treatments is not possible, patients with this cancer now have opportunities to live months and often years beyond the first diagnosis. However, to survive requires strength of purpose, persistence, willingness to explore new treatments, and the determination to live one day at a time.